An Evangelical Free Church in Cary, NC

Bonhoeffer on Christian Community- from “Life Together”

True Spiritual Community only in Jesus Christ-

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“Our community with one another consists solely in what Christ has done to both of us. This is not true merely at the beginning, as though in the course of time something else were to be added to our community; it remains so for all the future and to all eternity. I have community with others and I shall continue to have it only through Jesus Christ. The more genuine and deeper our community becomes, the more everything else between us will recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us. We have one another only through Christ, but through Christ we do have one another, wholly, and for all eternity…

For Jesus Christ alone is our unity. ‘He is our peace.’ Through him alone do we have access to one another, joy in one another, and fellowship with one another.”

Christian Community not simply a human ideal but a Divine Reality-

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“Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to the community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial…

We do not complain of what God does not give us; we rather thank God for what he does give us daily. And is not what has been given us enough: brothers [and sisters] who will go on living with us through sin and need under the blessing of His grace? Is the divine gift of Christian fellowship anything less than this, any day, even the most difficult and distressing day? Even when sin and misunderstanding burden the communal life, is not the sinning brother still a brother, with whom I, too, stand under the Word of Christ? Will not his sin be a constant occasion for me to give thanks that both of us may live in the forgiving love of God in Jesus Christ?”

“Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate. The more clearly we learn to recognize that the ground and strength and promise of all our fellowship is in Jesus Christ alone, the more serenely shall we think of our fellowship and pray and hope for it.”

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Christ’s love in Christian community is much more than human love-

“What love is, only Christ tells us in his word. Contrary to all my own opinions and convictions, Jesus Christ will tell me what love toward the brethren really is. Therefore spiritual love is bound solely to the word of Jesus Christ. Where Christ bids me to maintain fellowship for the sake of love, I will maintain it. Where His truth enjoins me to dissolve a fellowship for the sake of love, I will dissolve it, despite all my protests of human love. Because spiritual love does not desire but rather serves, it loves an enemy as a brother. It originates neither in the brother nor in the enemy but in Christ and his Word.”